"It's about Greensboro. It's about finding habitable spaces, and it's called, 'Battleground, USA.'"
~Bryan Cahall

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Battleground, USA
By Bryan Cahall
2009
Chords: G C D

G
I was waking from a slumber, I'd been sleepin' like the dead

I had stars inside my vision and poundin' in my head
C
I was hungry, I was achin', and my brain was full of fuzz
G
But worst of all, I could not remember who I was
D
I blinked my eyes and wondered how it was I came to sleep
C D G
On a rock hard dusty mattress in the middle of the street

I believe I caught amnesia, but the details slip my mind
There must have been some mayhem or some warfare of some kind
I laid there on the asphalt and I tried to recollect
I couldn't help but picturin' a mean old architect
But then the horns were blarin' and I heard the tires scream
Folks were yellin', "Get a move on! Cant you see the light is green!?!"

I tried to get my bearings and to catch a breath or two
The road sign up above me read Battleground Avenue
I stared at it and scratched my head, when I seen this passin man
I said sir, could you please help me to remember where I am?
He just laughed and shook his head, said son, just look around
There's a battleground in every American town

Well I needed help real bad so I found a shoppin' strip
Some kids were out there smokin', talkin' shop and lookin' hip
I asked to bum a cigarette and all of em refused
We don't tolerate no leeches, ain't you heard the news?
I said "where can I catch a bus, man, I need to roam!"
They said, we been here since the cows left, and they ain't ever comin' home

Well the voice inside my belly told me first thing must be first
I scrambled for some sustenance 'fore things could get much worse
I walked into a cafe, crazy neon sign aglow
Said open twenty-four hours, but not all in a row
The waitress said, "we're closing, all I got to serve you, hon
"Is vinyl siding over easy and a side of Orwell's tongue"

Well I went outside to vomit in between the yellow lines
But I was rudely interrupted by a posted self-help sign
It said "did you wake this morning in a storm of mystery?"
Come in have a word with a doctor of history"
By the time I found the address I was bordering on tears
I sat inside the waiting room for at least ten thousand years

The professor showed me diagrams said "As you can see,
"History is a disease, that afflicts the memory"
He asked me for my birthday, I told him 1984
He said well theres your problem, its in the stars, there ain't no cure
As the session ended, I was filled with doubt and shame
The doc said lets get started now, first tell me your name

I ran out of his office 'bout as fast as I could
On the street a bush was burnin' but it didn't speak too good
I was dyin' for some rest, I couldn't take the pace no more
So the next place I walked into was a stationary store
Manager said take what you like, there's nothing to be bought
So I snatched a pen and diary to record my fleeting thoughts

Well I think that it was working, stringin verbs along with nouns
I was starting to recover, I was starting to calm down
Slowly, bit by bit I was piecing things together
When a cop came chargin' at me, though I didn't know no better
He said "I seen you with that light bulb, and I seen you with that pen
And I'm a bookin' you for vagrancy, your mind's a wanderin'

He took me too the jail house where he dragged me by my sleeves
There were murderers and miscreants and arsonists and thieves
But sitting in the corner, all peaceful and serene
There was a man, the dirt beneath his fingernails was clean
I approached him and I asked "Why are you here? What have you done?"
He said "I'm a political prisoner, but it don't bother me none."

He said "I found the secret to pluggin' up all these black holes
Of making a little meaning without too much rigmarole"
You see, become a gardner, its just better for your health
And find a place where you want to leave part of your self
You can't hold onto memories, no matter how you toil
So let'em free and make em grow and plant'em in the soil

I said "We gotta bust you out and spread your message wide"
The end times are a-comin.' There's hysteria outside."
He said "I'd better stay here, yes I know it to be true"
"In the mornin' they'll throw another one in here just like you"
"But you should get a goin and see what its about
No need to break a thing, I got the keys, just walk straight out"

So I guess I will be stickin' round this here Battleground land
And carve a little space out thats worth giving a damn
Though the architect is still threatenin', to undo all I done
I'm positive I'll find the same thing if I run
And it may seem a little strange, but it helps to think this way
There is probably a tomorrow but there ain't no yesterday.

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